ILGWU Local 22 Education Department Photographs

Collection Number: 5780/057 P

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


ILGWU Local 22 Education Department Photographs, 1939-1970
Collection Number:
5780/057 P
ILGWU Local 22;
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
This collection consists of photographs pulled from the records of Local 22's Education Department. Included are images of conferences, meetings, and rallies.
Collection material in English


The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union was once one of the largest labor unions in the United States founded in 1900 by local union delegates representing about 2,000 members in cities in the northeastern United States. It was one of the first U.S. Unions to have a membership consisting of mostly females, and it played a key role in the labor history of the 1920s and 1930s. The union is generally referred to as the "ILGWU" or the "ILG". The ILGWU grew in geographical scope, membership size, and political influence to become one of the most powerful forces in American organized labor by mid-century. Representing workers in the women's garment industry, the ILGWU worked to improve working and living conditions of its members through collective bargaining agreements, training programs, health care facilities, cooperative housing, educational opportunities, and other efforts. The ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union in 1995 to form the Union of Needle trades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE). UNITE merged with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) in 2004 to create a new union known as UNITE HERE. The two unions that formed UNITE in 1995 represented only 250,000 workers between them, down from the ILGWU's peak membership of 450,000 in 1969.


The Education Department of Local 22 was developed to further the educational and cultural development of the Local's membership. It routinely sponsored lectures and courses on a variety of labor and other topics; it also offered musical and dramatic performances on a regular basis, either for or featuring its membership.
Local 22 of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), also known as the Dressmakers' Union, was chartered in December 1920 and based in New York City. The dress industry formed its own Joint Board in 1921 composed of Local 22 Dressmakers, Local 25 Waistmakers, Local 58 Waist Buttonhole Makers, Local 60 Waist and Dress Pressers, Local 66 Bonnaz Embroidery Workers, Local 89 Italian Waist and Dressmakers, and the waist and dress branch of Cutters' Local 10. A general work stoppage in February 1923 in the dress industry won the union a 40 hour week and 10 percent wage increase, as well as a large gain of new members. During the summer of 1923, after years of discussion and deliberation, the two dress locals, Local 23 and 22 were consolidated. The dressmakers from Local 23 transferred to Local 22 and subsequently Local 22 joined the New York Cloakmakers' Joint Board. Soon, the Dress and Waist Joint Board became unnecessary and was dissolved. Local 25 Waistmakers were left without an affiliated organization and in October 1924 merged with the Dressmakers' Union, Local 22.
By the end of 1926, the Communists had gained control of the dress organization in New York City and the union barely existed. In February 4, 1930, 25,000 dressmakers walked out of the shops. The strike was called to reorganize dressmakers and finally abolish the Communist influence in the industry. On April 8, 1930 the General Executive Board decided to separate the dressmakers from the Cloakmakers' Joint Board. In 1931, Charles Zimmerman formed a committee to rebuild Local 22. He was elected to executive board of Local 22 in 1932, and elected manager-secretary in 1933. Another walkout in all dress shops, both union and non-union on August 16, 1933 brought the dress industry to a halt.
Zimmerman left Local 22 in 1958 to become manager of the Dress Joint Board. Israel Breslow succeeded him as manager of Local 22 from 1958 until his retirement in 1975. By 1975, the New York Dress Joint Board completed restructuring of affiliate locals, and Locals 60-60A, 159, and 38 were merged into existing Locals 22 and 89. Local 22 gained jurisdiction over all dressmakers in Manhattan. In the 1980s, more locals were dissolved and members transferred to Local 22, but by 1984, Local 22 saw restructuring as well. Changes in the garment industry necessitated the dissolution of the Joint Board and Local 22 into the new Local 89-22-1.


The photographs in the collection were pulled from the records of the Local 22 Education Department (5780/057). The images illustrate the wide range of activities and programming put on by the department. Photographs show members taking classes, especially the women members. Classes depicted include music and literature. There are also dinners and banquets, meetings and conferences, speakers and lecterns and rallies. Additionally, there are portraits of officers and members, many with Charles Zimmerman (see also 5780/014P).

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.).Education Dept.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union -- Photographs

Women's clothing industry--New York (State)
Women's clothing industry--United States
Clothing workers--Labor unions--New York (State)
Clothing workers--Labor unions--United States
Clothing workers--New York (State)
Clothing workers--United States
Industrial relations--New York (State)
Industrial relations--United States

Form and Genre Terms:


Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
ILGWU Local 22 Education Department Photographs #5780/057 P. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records
5780/014: ILGWU Local 22, Charles S. Zimmerman Papers
5780/014 P: ILGWU Local 22, Charles S. Zimmerman Photographs
5780/015: ILGWU Local 22 Records
5780/036: ILGWU Local 22 Minutes
5780/057: ILGWU Local 22 Education Department Records
5780/067: ILGWU Local 22 Israel Breslow Papers


Box 1 Folder 1
Includes: shop scenes, group photographs
Box 1 Folder 2
Includes: Class in American literature, Agnes Mattock, Instructor; children working at craft projects; convention scenes; Trade Union Committee on Puerto Rican Affairs
Box 1 Folder 3 1960-1965
Includes: photos from Justice; African Leaders--Central Labor Council Luncheon, September 8, 1960; conference at New School, 1960; group photos; Charles Zimmerman
Box 1 Folder 4 1969-1970
Box 1 Folder 5 1960
Includes: Protest against racial discrimination, March 1960
Box 1 Folder 6 1939-1960
Includes: Trade Union Council-Liberal Party Legislative Conference, Astor Hotel, 1960; Local 22 Color Guard on the picket line, 1939; Local 22 production of "Sew What;" Unity House; Histadrut Humanitarian Award Dinner, June 23, 1959; Shorter Work Week Conference, Unity House, August 1958; National Trade Union Conference on Civil Rights, 1957; Association to Perpetuate the Memory of Ukranian Jews, June 1959; delegates to ILGWU Convention, 1959; Liberal Party dinner, June 10, 1959; Charles Zimmerman; group photos; Diego Rivera mural [?]
Box 1 Folder 7 1954-1968
Includes: "10,000 Retiree," American Labor ORT meeting, 1954; group photos; picketing at Anaconda Copper, February 8, 1968; Governor Rockefeller signing bill, August 1, 1966; Bon Voyage Luncheon for David Dubinsky, April 11, 1966; Salute to Labor Israel, Manhattan Center, June 11, 1968; Annual Executive Board meeting, Labor ORT, October 22, 1968; Central Labor Council, Executive Board, August 15, 1968; Liberal Party rally for Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968; Labor Day parade, 1960; San Francisco reception, September 1959; Charles Zimmerman and Representative William Ryan (NY); Jewish Labor Committee dinner, November 9, 1967; portraits of Charles Zimmerman
Box 1 Folder 8 1956-1967
Includes: "Miss Union Maid," 1963; Local 60A, September 24, 1963; Jewish Labor Committee Stenzor dinner, April 6, 1963; Liberal Party, 1963; group photos; Eleanor Roosevelt, September 25, 1956; Golda Meir luncheon, October 17, 1961; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) protest of Zimmerman, 1961; ORT annual conference, January 22, 1967; Histadrut House, March 15, 1967
Box 2